Indigenous vegetables worldwide: their importance and future development

J.D.H. Keatinge, J.-F. Wang, F.F. Dinssa, A.W. Ebert, J.DA. Hughes, T. Stoilova, N. Nenguwo, N.P.S. Dhillon, W.J. Easdown, R. Mavlyanova, A. Tenkouano, V. Afari-Sefa, R.-Y. Yang, R. Srinivasan, R.J. Holmer, G. Luther, F.-I. Ho, A. Shahabuddin, P. Schreinemachers, E. Iramu, P. Tikai, A. Dakuidreketi-Hickes, M. Ravishankar
Indigenous (traditional) vegetables are best defined as species that are locally important for the sustainability of economies, human nutrition and health, and social systems NDASH but which have yet to attain global recognition to the same extent as major vegetable commodities such as tomato or cabbage. Given the hundreds of indigenous vegetables consumed worldwide, their accumulated value for mankind is considerable. These species deserve much greater recognition and investment in agricultural research and development than they have presently. Indigenous vegetables are primary candidates for greater use of crop biodiversity in horticulture as they are already consumed and enjoyed locally and can be produced profitably in both rural and urban environments. Yet many such species have received little scientific attention to date. More effort in research and development would likely produce rewarding results, as productivity increases in these neglected crops are much easier to realize than for intensively researched staple cereals. Questions therefore are: 1) How can we rescue, conserve and utilize the genetic diversity of cultivated and wild forms of indigenous vegetables under threat of genetic erosion?; 2) How can the lack of quality seed be overcome?; 3) Given the increased levels of biotic and abiotic stresses driven by climate change, as well as existing rural-urban migration trends, how can these indigenous vegetables help produce sufficient quantities of quality food?; 4) Can postharvest management be improved to make market chains more effective and profitable?; 5) Can greater consumption of such diverse and nutritious indigenous vegetables be encouraged, knowing that changing dietary habits is a difficult exercise?
Keatinge, J.D.H., Wang, J.-F., Dinssa, F.F., Ebert, A.W., Hughes, J.DA., Stoilova, T., Nenguwo, N., Dhillon, N.P.S., Easdown, W.J., Mavlyanova, R., Tenkouano, A., Afari-Sefa, V., Yang, R.-Y., Srinivasan, R., Holmer, R.J., Luther, G., Ho, F.-I., Shahabuddin, A., Schreinemachers, P., Iramu, E., Tikai, P., Dakuidreketi-Hickes, A. and Ravishankar, M. (2015). Indigenous vegetables worldwide: their importance and future development. Acta Hortic. 1102, 1-20
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1102.1
production, profitability, postharvest, biodiversity, improved nutrition

Acta Horticulturae